Day 17: Favorite interview -> Leo Messi: “This is my home, my club”
Do you feel like you’ve paid Barça back for what it did for you when you were a child?
No, no … I always want to show that I’m committed to the club. Maybe it was more noticeable when I started playing for the team. This is my home, my club. I owe everything to Barça. And, like I’ve always said, I’m very happy here.
You’ve said that you’re not preoccupied with your personal goal tally but with titles. Is there a title that you especially want to win?
Yes, I prefer to win titles with the team before individual prizes or outscoring everyone. I’m more concerned about being a good person than being the best footballer in the world. Besides, in the end, when all this is over, what can you take with you? My hope is that when I retire that I’m remembered as a good guy. I like to score goals, but I also like to be friends with the people I play with. It’s good to be valued as a person, it’s important that they have a good concept of who you are beyond being the guy that scores a lot of goals.
What makes you mad?
I don’t like to lose.
What about outside of football?
In life, I hate poverty. I come from a country where poverty is very noticeable. There are many children that have no other alternative but to beg on the street or try to find work … we’re talking about very young children.
You light up when children come up to you. Why is that?
Children are pure, especially when they’re young. They see you and they transform. Some of them are shy. They don’t talk, they don’t understand why I’m there or why I’m talking with them. They only see me on TV so when they see me in person they are frightened. I’m most fulfilled when I make a child happy.
Did you ever get in trouble when you were a youth player…
I don’t remember! [laughs]. I’m sure we got in trouble because we were a good group of footballers, but we were dangerous!
Is it true that Piqué would defend you from cynical tackles?
Yes, he was a pretty big kid and we were all small. Papá [Daddy] would defend us all.
What defines this team?
The best thing about this team is that we always try to win our games. But above all, it’s that this team has ambition. Even after everything we’ve won, we still get upset if we lose a scrimmage in a training session. That’s the best thing about this team, our ambition.